I love Christmas so much, I love everything that comes with it. I love the hustle and the bustle of the season. I love the festive food, looking at lights, receiving Christmas cards, sending Christmas cards, listening to the same songs eight millions times, shopping for presents for others, receiving gifts that others spent the time to pick out and even all the corny Christmas movies.
I love trying to figure out gifts for others and watching their reactions as they open - while I am hoping and praying that they truly like it (only time will tell).
But lately....or maybe it's just the fact that I've gotten older, I feel like the joy has been taken out of the season. So many people, in an effort to steer clear of materialism, end up making others feel guilty for their involvement and enjoyment in the holiday.
And then there is the crazy and ridiculous argument of Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays.
As a Christ follower I don't understand all the fuss about saying Happy Holidays.
I say Merry Christmas and will always say Merry Christmas - but if someone says "Happy Holidays" to me what purpose will it be to chastise them for their choice of verbiage? Would that reflect Christ?
Do I want everyone to know the loving, forgiving, grace that comes through a relationship with Christ? Yes.
Do I think telling someone not to say happy holidays to me will help in this purpose? Heck no.
All year long as a Christ follower I should be focused on those in need, on Jesus (the reason for the season as we say), those who are hurting and those who are lonely. If I am truly living the Word out, that should be my focus throughout the year, but for some reason these particular situations are amplified during Christmas and I feel that sometimes we are made to feel guilty for buying into materialism during this season - yet the other eleven months of the year materialism is accepted.
I want to teach Eli the Christmas story, but I want it to be something that we focus on all year round - not just something that is pounded into his brain for 25 days.
But I also want to enjoy the holiday season when it is here. Make traditions, even if some of them seem "materialistic". I want to set up the nativity scene with him walking through the story step by step (I understand this might be a false dream I have in my head, as I am raising a boy and he will probably be shooting at me with an imaginary gun while I try and teach him the story), but I want us, as a family to take it ALL in.
And I want to teach him to love others throughout the year, not just during this season. I want us to give to others all year, be around those who are different than us, and reach out to those who are lonely.
This post is more for myself than others. So many times I have felt guilty about getting excited about a season that seems"materialistic" when in reality I should feel worry about being materialistic all year round - not just at Christmas.
So I'm going into the season excited about it all, traditions, food, movies, and sharing with others the Love that truly is the reason for the season (as corny as that saying is, it is true).